The Paralysis of Hunting Analysis

Fall Tree, Blue Sky

I don’t remember where I heard the phrase, but it has stuck with me for years…

“Don’t get stuck in the paralysis of analysis.”

I’m analytical by nature.  A researcher.  A thinker.  A planner.

Overall, this is a positive thing, but any strength can also become a weakness.

The “paralysis of analysis” manifests itself when I am so consumed by researching, thinking, and planning that I question the acting and doubt the doing.  The analysis leads to paralysis.

A lesson that I have learned over the past few hunting seasons is that I tend to over-analyze hunting.  I get too concerned with the wind, the gear, the moon, the this, and the that.  It is an easy trap to fall in to.

Where should I hunt?  What day should I hunt?  Are the deer going to approach from this direction, or that one?  Will the wind be good?  Are they still moving in daylight?  How should I approach this location?  Will this scent work?    Should I call?

What if I do this and the deer to that?

The questions are endless.  And questioning can be crippling.

We have made hunting too complicated, when it is really pretty simple.  Lesson learned.

Consider (don’t over-analyze) the conditions, check your gut, make a decision and be confident.

Less analyzing.  More hunting.

Please, tell me that I am not the only one that has had this problem…

Gear Giveaway – The Real Avid Revelation Lighted Hunting Knife

The Real Avid Revelation lighted hunting knife

Back in May of this year I was given the opportunity to begin using a couple of knives from Real Avid. Both the Viscera and the Revelation immediately impressed me.  Each knife has some amazing features, a great build quality, and is a great value.  I used both of those knives the rest of the spring, throughout the summer, and I am still using them for this hunting season.

In August I was given the opportunity to join Real Avid’s Field Staff, and since I already had quite a bit of experience using their products, I had no reservations about joining them.  (Real Avid not only makes some great hunting knives; they make an awesome lineup of truly innovative and unique tools for handguns, rifles, and my favorite – archery equipment.  Check out to see their entire product lineup.)

I have an extra Real Avid Revelation and I thought it would be great to say “thank you” to my readers by giving it away to one of you!

How To Enter

You can enter the giveaway in any, or all, of the following ways…

  • Leave a comment below, telling me which Real Avid product you like the most.
  • Like the Sole Adventure page on Facebook.
  • Share this photo on Facebook.
  • Tweet this: “Win a @RealAvid Revelation lighted hunting knife from @SoleAdventure!  Enter here. . .
You have 4 chances of entering!  Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm on Tuesday, October 23rd.

The Real Avid Revelation

Here are the specs and some photos on the Revelation knife.  If you don’t win the giveaway be sure to check this knife out at your local outdoor store, your local Wal-Mart, or a Dick’s Sporting Goods.

  • 4.0″ drop point, polished 440 stainless steel blade
  • Two high intensity LED lights in handle
  • Soft touch rubber handle
  • Extra batteries included
  • Full tang fixed blade
  • Handle length: 5″
  • Ballistic nylon sheath
  • Waterproof
The Real Avid Revelation lighted hunting knife The Real Avid Revelation lighted hunting knife The Real Avid Revelation lighted hunting knife

Fueling For The Hunt – Why Your Food Choices Matter

Heading Into the Woods

So far my season has consisted of trying to find time for quick hunts among a crazy schedule.  I’ve snuck out for a few morning hunts and spent several evenings hunting for a few hours after work.  Planning and packing the essential gear for these short hunts is easy.  However, when November rolls around and I begin spending long, dark-to-dark days in the stand, the the amount of things that I need to pack increases quite a bit.

Historically, my packing for such long hunts has focused mainly on proper clothing and essential hunting gear (weapon, optics, calls, etc).  I used to give little thought about what food I would pack, which as I have come to realize, is a HUGE mistake.  I’ve come to learn – the hard way – that smart nutrition choices can actually help me hunt more effectively.

A hungry stomach can drive you out of the stand, as can an upset one.  Grabbing only what is convenient often means loading up on processed sugar and junk calories, which will give you some initial energy, but also lead to a crash.  I’ve noticed that my level of comfort, alertness, focus, and even warmth, are influenced by what I eat over the course of a long day’s hunt.

Now, I don’t have a bunch of time to spend preparing food during the peak of my hunting season, and I’m sure that you don’t either.  Things like jerky and trail mix are convenient staples, and are actually a fairly good choice for quality calories.  But other common convenience items that hunter’s tend to grab aren’t such smart choices.  Energy drinks, donuts, pastries, snack cakes, heavy/greasy breakfast items, energy bars, etc. – these items don’t provide long-lasting, quality calories.

Here are a few of my favorite hunting season staples that are easy to prepare, convenient to pack, quiet to eat on the stand, and provide some quality, balanced calories…

Quick and Easy Breakfast – Overnight Steel Cut Oats

I’m not a huge fan of traditional oatmeal, but I do enjoy steel cut oats.  However, there is one huge problem with steel cut oats – they take forever to prepare!

Well, thanks to my wife and her obsession with Pinterest (please tell me that I am not the only guy whose wife/girlfriend is obsessed with that site!) I discovered a quick, no-fuss method to prepare steel cut oats.

The basic idea is to add even amounts of steel cut oats and almond milk into a container, mix in some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract), and then throw it in the fridge to sit overnight.  In the morning you can top this concoction with some extra goodies (I do sliced almonds, slices of banana, and some dark chocolate chips) and then either eat it cold or heat it up in the microwave.

Here is one example RECIPE to get you started.

This breakfast will hang with you and takes all of 2 or 3 minutes to prepare.

Lunch in the Woods – Probars

I’m not a fan of most energy, protein, meal-replacement, or nutrition bars.  Most of them taste bad and sit in my stomach like a rock.  One of my friends told me about Pro Bars, and though I was skeptical, I gave in and tried one.  I was surprised that I didn’t have to choke it down; it actually tasted good!  I was even more surprised to find out that they are completely natural with no added sugars, fillers, preservatives, etc.  (Pro Bar also touts the fact that their bars are vegan, which always makes me chuckle a bit as I eat one while attempting to kill something for a real dinner.)

There is a flavor of Pro Bar for pretty much everybody, and though I haven’t tried them all, I will tell you that ‘Superfood Slam’ and ‘Nutty Banana Boom’ are awesome!

You can check out the entire line at

Afternoon Energy – Wilderness Athlete, Energy & Focus

I know that I’ve already told you that I wasn’t a fan of energy drinks, and I’m not, but Wilderness Athlete’s Energy & Focus is different from your average quick-stop, liquefied sugar bomb in a can.

Energy & Focus won’t give you the jitters, and it won’t lead you to crash and burn.  What it will do is give you a good boost of sustained energy, which I have found helpful to fight off the afternoon naps in the stand.  Add in the fact that Energy & Focus also gives you a good dose of vitamins and it is hard to pass this stuff up.

Learn more at

Dinner on the Stand – Peanut Butter, Honey, and Bacon Bagels

Yes, you read that right – peanut butter, honey, and bacon on a bagel.  Sounds crazy, tastes delicious, and will fill you up!

I don’t know where this idea originated, but it has sort of become a cult staple of Western hunters that are out in the wilderness for days at a time.  I caught my first mention of the idea in Cameron Hanes’ book, Backcountry Bowhunting.

I prepare a few of these in advance by toasting my bagel and letting it cool.  I then add a fair dose of peanut butter, a drizzle of honey, and some cooked bacon.  Throw all of that together sandwich style, put it in a zip-loc, throw it in your pack, and hit the woods.

All I am saying is this, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!”

What are your hunting season food staples?

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The Friday Files – String Jumpers, Kill Shot Celebrations, Delicious Deer, and More…

A doe ducks the shot

Do deer really jump (or duck) the string?

Deer hunter and biologist, Grand Woods, has a great article about deer that jump/duck the string. This idea is well-known to bowhunters, and is a common reason given for missed shots, but does it really happen?  Can a deer react fast enough to avoid an incoming arrow?  Find out for yourself…

How should we respond after a kill shot?

What do you do when you successfully kill the animal you are hunting?  Do you show your excitement with whoops, cheers, or celebration?  Do you quietly thank the animal?  Do those that hunt on video react for the viewer?…Is their emotion genuine?  What should we do?  Join the discussion on this topic…

Dear deer, you’re delicious

Some interesting history and perspective on venison from an unlikely source,  Did you know that the word “venison” is derived from the Latin word for “to hunt” or “the chase”?  Learn more…

American Grouch

My friend Nick recently turned me on to a new bowhunting blog; check out the American Grouch from some great stories and some amazing photos.

Evolution of a Hunter

This infographic takes a look at the four stages of a hunter’s evolution.  Obviously these stages don’t capture the nuances and feelings surrounding each of our experiences as hunters, but I do think that it is a fair way to summarize a common journey that many hunters live.  Do you fit in any of these stages right now, or have you in the past?

Evolution of a Hunter

Good luck to those that are hunting this weekend!

Operation Groundkill – Tips For Hunting Whitetails From The Ground

Hunting from the ground

One of my goals for this season is to kill a whitetail from the ground with my bow, without the use of a blind.  I have labeled this mission, “Operation Groundkill”.

I set this goal for three reasons…

1) Hunting from the ground is a rush!  There is nothing like being up close and personal with a deer on the ground, especially when it is just a few yards away.

2) Hunting from the ground is a challenge.  I am on a constant quest to become a better hunter.  I judge this not by what I kill, but by how I kill it.  Hunting from the ground will force me to hone my hunting skills and instincts.

3) Hunting from the ground opens up new opportunities.  Let’s face it – there are some spots where a treestand, or even a ground blind, simply will not work well.  Instead of skipping these spots, I want to adapt my hunting methods to suit them.

I don’t have a ton of experience hunting in this manor, but I have already had some amazing encounters this season.  Here are a few simple things that I have learned as I have set myself free from the tree and started to hunt on the ground…

Get comfortable.  I have had good luck setting up on the ground in ambush points.  I pick these spots in a way that is similar to how I determine treestand locations, along travel corridors and pinch points.  To hunt from the ground at one of these locations you have to set yourself up so that you can be comfortable.  You can’t be moving around, shifting your weight, or constantly changing positions.  Comfort is crucial to keeping your movement down as you wait to ambush a whitetail buck.

Be quiet.  Moving around in the whitetail woods is a noisy affair.  Leaves, sticks, rocks…everythingmakes noise and disrupts the stillness of nature.  When you setup you have to clear your immediate area in a way that will allow you to be completely silent as you make the minor movements that may be necessary to get in shooting position.  Another noise to consider is your gear.  Does your bow make any noise when you draw it back?  Are your hunting clothes as quiet as you thought they were?

Kill your scent.  All bowhunters know that scent control is important, but it is especially vital to diminish our scent when we are hunting on the ground and coming within short range of the animals that we are after.  I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have a buck 4 yards away from you at eye level, but that will never happen if you don’t control your scent.

Range in advance.  Things happen fast on the ground.  Deer have a way of showing up out of nowhere, and many times you won’t have the time or opportunity to range them.  I always range several landmarks in advance so that I can determine what distance an incoming deer will be at.  Things look a lot different from the ground, and it is easy for distance to deceive you, especially when you are hunting in steep terrain, as I often do.

Determine where you can shoot.  When you are on the ground you are on the same level as every bush, thicket, and branch.  It may appear that you have shooting lanes in many places, but all it takes is one little deflection to send your arrow off course.  Determine where, exactly, that you can shoot and carry hand pruners to eliminate any obstructions as soon as you setup.

Know how and when to draw.  Timing is everything on the ground.  You can’t wait too late to draw your bow and risk getting busted, but drawing too early can lead to shakiness.  Every situation is different, and often things don’t go as planned.  Personally, I tend to draw early and rely on the bow-holding strength that I built up over the summer.  Another tip is to draw and aim where you expect to shoot the deer, and not where the deer is when you draw.  If you have a shooting lane to your left and the deer is headed towards that lane, then draw and hold on that lane and wait for the deer to come through.  Don’t draw on the deer and “track” them with your bow – that is too much movement!

Use cover.  Obviously using natural cover is important to keeping yourself concealed.  However, don’t try to put yourself behind cover, which will limit your range of motion and shooting opportunities; instead, focus on placing yourself in front of quality cover.  What is behind you is important for determining how your human shape will be concealed.  Speaking of concealment…

Camo everything.  I put a high value on camouflage when I am hunting from the ground.  I attempt to cover up every bit of skin, including my face and hands.  (I can’t stand face masks or gloves, so I use paint for my face and hands.)  I also make sure that I keep anything bright or reflective tucked away in my bag.  I think that sometimes we place too high of a priority on camouflage when rifle hunting, or hunting from a treestand, but camouflage is crucial for hunting form the ground at close ranges.

Track the sun.  In addition to natural cover and camouflage, one of the most effective tools for concealing yourself is using natural sun light.  Put the sun behind you and lurk in the shadows.  Determine where the sun is moving and how it will affect the light over the duration of your hunt.  Whatever you do, don’t get caught with the sun beaming towards you.

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